West Virginia superintendent says teacher walkout unlawful

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — With teachers and other public workers planning a statewide walkout Thursday and Friday over pay and benefits, Superintendent of Schools Steven Paine says they deserve more but work stoppages by public employees are unlawful in West Virginia.
In a statement Tuesday, Paine says he’s hopeful negotiations can prevent disruption to students and classrooms and families that have to find other places to send their children.
The Senate and House on Tuesday night approved a 2 percent raise next year for teachers followed by 1 percent raises the following two years.
Teachers have held rallies decrying low pay, small proposed increases and hikes in their insurance costs.
The House has passed legislation to freeze those insurance rates in the coming fiscal year.
West Virginia Education Association spokeswoman Kym Randolph says closing schools is “a last resort” in the effort to improve schools with hundreds of teacher vacancies but legislators don’t seem to be listening.